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[ODDS and EVENS] Title-Chasing Swallows Show Last Season's Success Was No Fluke

Led by slugger Munetaka Murakami, closer Scott McGough, overall pitching depth and strong managerial leadership, Yakult won its second straight pennant.

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The Tokyo Yakult Swallows react to Kazuya Maruyama's walk-off double and Central League pennant-clinching victory over the Yokohama DeNA BayStars on September 25 at Jingu Stadium. (ⒸSANKEI)

This article first appeared on SportsLook, JAPAN Forward’s dedicated sports website.

What does it take for a pro baseball team to avoid a championship hangover the year after winning it all?

Start with the following as building blocks for continued success:

A manager who instills confidence in his players even after they’ve reached the metaphorical mountaintop. 

A dynamic power-hitting slugger who can carry the offense.

A dominant closer who puts the finishing touches on victory after victory.

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Ladies and gentlemen, a noteworthy reminder: Shingo TakatsuMunetaka Murakami and Scott McGough, respectively, fill these irreplaceable roles for the 2022 Central League pennant-winning Tokyo Yakult Swallows.

Yakult secured its second straight regular-season league title with a 1-0 win over the Yokohama DeNA BayStars on Sunday, September 25. Kazuya Maruyama provided the late-game drama with a walk-off double with one out in the ninth inning at Jingu Stadium.

When it was over, Takatsu, who’s in his third season at the helm, took a break during the euphoric celebrations to sum up what the Swallows’ achievement means to him.

Read the full story on SportsLook.


Author:  Ed Odeven

Follow Ed on JAPAN Forward's [Japan Sports Notebook] here on Sundays, in [Odds and Evens] here during the week, and Twitter @ed_odeven, and find him on JAPAN Forward’s dedicated sports website, SportsLook.

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